Some vaccines ‘still useful’ despite dip in efficacy vs COVID-19 variants – FDA
MANILA, Philippines — Some vaccines have shown a decrease in their efficacy against COVID-19 variants, but they are “still useful” in helping stem the spread of the severe respiratory illness, Director-General Eric Domingo of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Monday during the taped weekly briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte.
Domingo cited studies on the efficacy of the US-made Pfizer vaccine and the British-Swede-made AstraZeneca that showed a slight decrease in their efficacy against the Alpha and Delta variants of COVID-19.
Data from Pfizer showed, however, indicate that its vaccine retained a high efficacy rate of 93 percent against the Alpha variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, for the Delta variant, which was first reported in India, Pfizer’s vaccine’s efficacy rate decreased slightly to 88 percent, Domingo said.
For AstraZeneca, the efficacy against the Alpha variant is at 66 percent and its efficacy against the Delta variant is at 60 percent.
“There’s a decreasing efficacy as we get more mutations, but the efficacy of the vaccines is not completely gone. It’s still a very useful vaccine,” Domingo said, speaking partly in Filipino.
“They can still be used. They still give protection,” he added.
According to Domingo, other vaccines — such as Janssen, Moderna, Sinovac, Sinopharm, and Sputnik V — are undergoing studies to determine their efficacy against different virus variants, particularly the more transmissible Delta variant.
“Initial reports indicate that they are also useful, but we expect it will be a little lower than the original efficacy against the original virus,” Domingo said.
He still encouraged the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent the spread of the disease.
“None of these vaccines have completely lost their efficacy, even against the Delta variant. In case, that a variant gets in, we should all get vaccinated with the vaccines that are available now because this will still protect us and will help us stop the spread even if it comes in,” he said.
On Monday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported the detection of 40 more infections of COVID-19 variants nationwide — four new Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases, 14 Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant cases, 21 Beta (B.1.351) variant cases, and one Theta (P.3) variant case.
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